BMW X6 xDrive50i M Sport – Bavaria’s X Factor

I remember the very first Jurassic Park film, where the Tyrannosaurus Rex caught my attention. Standing tall, muscular, and ferocious, the T-Rex towered over most in its species, far excelling most others in speed, size, and agility in the toughest of terrains.

Emplacing these qualities back into the motoring world, I found the striking resemblance between the T-Rex and the new BMW X6. Yes it’s fast (at least for the xDrive50i variant we tested), it’s heavy and muscular, and has the ability to conquer off-road terrains with ease.

Exterior

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When the older generation X6s were launched, some questioned the need for such a “bulky” (read: muscular) SUV. After all, the X5 performed remarkably, and for those who fancied a smaller option, there’s always the X3. But the Bavarian marque continued to up the standard by introducing the monster X6.

Up front, the new X6 holds a set of more angular front facade, with BMW’s signature kidney grille flaring the same way an angry man would do to his nostrils. Yes, it’s one step more aggressive than the X5, especially when coupled with the new signature corona ring lights as well as the LED headlamps.

Compared to its younger X5 brother, the X6 stands wider and longer. Flares from the body contours bring out the muscularity that this monster-SUV possesses, and similar to the X4, the sloping Grand Coupe-inspired tailgate gives an extra oomph to the agility and aerodynamics of the car.

Interior

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Standing at 1702 mm tall, the X6 is admittedly a little difficult to climb on board if you’re slightly shorter. But slide into the driving cabin and you’ll be welcomed by a vast array of quality materials and features.

Drivers enjoy a full range of features (on the xDrive50i variant), ranging from heads-up display to BMW’s Professional navigation system complete with ConnectedDrive, as well as Parking Distance Control and Surround View to help you manoeuvre this 4.9 metre long SUV.

The finishings, as per BMW’s standards, were nothing short of exceptional. Opt for the xDrive50i variant and you enjoy Aluminium Hexagon interior trim on top of Dakota leather wrapped seats, or you could settle for Aluminium Fine Cutting for the xDrive35i. We loved the aesthetic advantage the former had though.

And of course, sound buffs would fancy the Harman Kardon Surround Sound system that comes as standard with the higher variant. If that doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps an upgrade to the Bang & Olufsen system might just satisfy your inner sound cravings.

Over at the rear, this 1,989 mm tank fits four adults comfortably, even though the seats are configured for three. Less the seatbelt buckles, the rear feels extra comfortable with individual climate control available.

The Drive

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If there’s one thing that appealed to me under the hood, it would be the 4,395 cc V8 plant, ready to pounce and set things in motion. Churning out 450 horses with a whopping 650 Nm of torque, the X6  xDrive50i catapults forward to the century mark in just 4.8 seconds (tested and proven).

From the lights or a stand-still, the X6 guarantees you the first place after take-off, leaving your turbocharged Japanese makes and perhaps even the other continentals behind. The all-so-familiar growl of the V8 plant makes the entire acceleration even more meaningful (and exciting, of course).

Unfortunately, the X6 presented a rather floaty ride, especially if you flick the switch to Comfort or Eco-Pro. At slightly above 2.1 tonnes, the ride was comfortable at low speeds until you hit potholes, where the dampers felt a little too oversensitive in compensating the bumps on the tarmac. Plant yourself at the back and you might just feel like you’re on a slightly bumpy boat ride.

However, blip it to Sport and you’d be rewarded with pure power accompanied by unmatched gusto from the heart of this monster. The 8 speed ZF transmission delivers remarkably, and steering feels pin sharp despite the size of this monster. It would have been better if the car handled better on sharp bends, but hey, given the other factors such as size and power-to-weight ratio, who’s to complain about this?

Conclusion

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While it may look and feel like a Tyrannosaurus Rex, the X6 feels no bigger than your ordinary X4 from inside the driving cabin. Like the ginormous figure it represents in Jurassic Park, the X6 set itself as a mark above most other SUVs available on the market.

Like how the T-Rex had its fair share of fans and haters, the X6 appeals to a niche market – drivers or even your unique family man who is looking for that size, that power, and undoubtedly, that space.

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We like:

The V8 goodness and the ability to catapult you ahead of most cars.

We don’t like: 

Dampers felt a little too soft on Comfort, and handling could have been better in negotiating corners.

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